Sometimes our students need a little extra encouragement and motivation.

Having a studio motto to pull out during lessons is a great way to give them a boost.

The next time one of your students is struggling, discouraged, and frustrated, try one of these mottos on for size.

10. “It’s all part of learning.”

The learning process is not squeaky-clean and free from struggle.

As anyone who has ever learned anything will tell you, you’ll make a lot of mistakes and missteps along the way. That is normal, and it will teach you more than you would probably learn if you got everything perfectly right every time.

The harder we fight for something, the more exciting it will be when we are victorious!

9. “One step at a time gets us closer to our goal.”

This is a helpful reminder for when we’re tackling a large project and feeling overwhelmed.

Breaking our goals down into small, achievable steps is a key to finding the motivation we need to keep moving forward. (Any other Meet the Robinsons fans out there?)

8. “That’s why pencils have erasers.”

This is one I pull out often when my students are struggling their way through theory worksheets.

I never want them to feel like their mistakes are the end of the world, or that they can’t show any confusion in front of the teacher.

We all make mistakes and that’s okay. It’s a normal and necessary part of the learning process.

7. “Playing music is a journey, not a race.”

I’ve been a musician for over half my life. In other words, I have now played music for longer than I didn’t.

But I still learn more every time I sit at the piano or pick up my cello and violin. I still am constantly learning about new things that I want to learn.

Playing music is a lifelong journey, and every single step on that journey is important.

6. “Remember how far you’ve come since you started.”

As musicians, we are often so focused on moving forward, learning new repertoire, and improving our skills that we don’t think about the progress that has been made.

While I generally subscribe to this “onward and upward” way of thinking, it is sometimes helpful to look back instead of forward.

That reminder of where we started can give us the boost we need to keep going.

5. “Every step forward counts, even the small ones.”

Sometimes it’s not the lack of progress that frustrates us, but the slowness of the progress.

It feels like we’re fighting the same battles day in and day out with very little to show for it.

That’s when we need to be reminded that even the tiniest step forward gets us closer to where we want to be.

4. “Practice plus patience equals results.”

How many times has a student told you, “I could never play like that!”

How many times have you thought that yourself as a musician?

I know I have, many times.

We’re all prone to thinking that there is some sort of “Secret Sauce” that only the best musicians have access to.

But in reality, this so-called secret is available to all of us: practice hard and be patient with your progress.

Those are the only two things that have ever gotten any musician anywhere.

3. “Never give up.”

This is a classic saying for good reason.

Sometimes a reminder to persevere can make all the difference to a struggling student.

2. “Mistakes are good teachers.”

This is the studio motto that my students have adopted (we took a vote).

It’s an important reminder for them (and me): mistakes are not signs of failure, they are signs of learning.

Sometimes getting something wrong at first is a necessary step towards eventually getting it right.

1. “Don’t try to be perfect, try to be excellent.”

I have to admit this is my favorite one on the list, because it’s the one my piano teacher repeatedly told me.

I’ve always been a perfectionist, and he would always try to reign that tendency in.

This saying of his has always been so helpful for me because, while perfection is not attainable, excellence definitely is.

That instantly changes my mindset from frustration over a goal that can’t be reached to perseverance for a reasonable goal.

Do you and your students have a studio motto? Let us know in the comments!

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